Press archive 2009

17 December 2009

Company founder Gerhard Sturm turns 75

Gerhard Sturm, company founder of ebm-papst, is celebrating his 75th birthday. Congratulations from the Managing Directors and the staff.

Through his outstanding entrepreneurial achievement combined with a great degree of humanity, Gerhard Sturm has led a company of formerly 35 employees to become a globally active company with approximately 10,000 employees within 46 years. Today, the ebm-papst Group is the world's trendsetting manufacturer of fans and motors with annual sales of about 1 billion EUR.

Gerhard Sturm was born on 17th December 1934, as the third of five children in Künzelsau-Nagelsberg, Germany. At the age of 14, Sturm began professional training as a machine fitter in Esslingen, a town in the same region. Then, the classmate of Reinhold Würth and Albert Berner switched to the fan manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg.

Upon successful completion of his master's certificate, Sturm was appointed the plant assistant and in 1960 became Manager of External Rotor Motor Manufacturing. This is when he identified the suitability of the external rotor motor as the ideal fan drive. His insight influenced his future path in life and the history of ebm-papst. In 1963, Gerhard Sturm, together with his fatherly friend and mentor, Heinz Ziehl, founded the present-day ebm-papst Group, which he shaped as Managing Partner until his departure from business operations in 2007. Since then, Sturm has supported the company as Chairman of the Advisory Board. "Back then, I had to promise the business registration office in Stuttgart that I would not be hiring more than 85 workers so that I would not take away jobs from agriculture," said Gerhard Sturm, looking back to 1963.

For many years, Sturm has been constantly active in promoting vocational training and professional training in such capacities as supervisory board member of Heilbronn University. Together with ebm-papst, he has been supporting two endowed professorships at the Reinhold-Würth-Hochschule (RWH) Künzelsau, the development of which Sturm played a large part in helping to fund. In addition, he is currently backing the reconfiguration of the "Hauptschule" (lower secondary school) in Mulfingen to a privately-run school that will enable students to obtain a better school leaving certificate.

As an entrepreneurial personality, Sturm has remained modest and has been involved in local politics as a member of the municipal council since 1975. Furthermore, together with ebm-papst, he supports numerous clubs, social institutions and events.

For his social commitment and his business activities, Gerhard Sturm has received numerous honours including, for example, the German Federal Cross of Merit, the Merit Medal of the State of Baden-Württemberg, the Medal of Honour bestowed by the region of Hohenlohe and the Diesel Medal, the highest distinction for inventors.

Sturm is celebrating his 75th birthday surrounded by his family and closest business associates at the Jagstmühle in Heimhausen, Germany. Here, Gerhard Sturm, still a sports enthusiast today, and his wife Annemarie have fulfilled a personal dream: The loving restoration of a hotel/restaurant, which has already rapidly established itself as an insider tip.

Hauke Hannig
Head of Corporate Communication / Press Spokesperson ebm-papst Group
Phone: +49 7938 81-7105
Fax: +49 7938 81-97105

ebm-papst Mulfingen GmbH & Co. KG
Bachmühle 2
74673 Mulfingen